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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review
November 15, 2022
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, the slow burn, heartfelt thriller that honors both Black Panther and Chadwick Boseman in the best ways it could deliver.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was released on November 11th, and delivered some of the best content the Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen since “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
This movie had a very unique and tough challenge: Deliver a moving and compelling story while honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy with the titular character. Not only is this film about the legacy of Boseman, but it is the final installment within Phase 4 of the MCU. Even so, this film pulled all the stops when it came to showing the grief that Boseman’s passing left within the MCU and in the real world.
For some people that need a refresher on what happened: Back in August of 2020, the world witnessed the baffling news of the passing of Chadwick Boseman. A beloved actor known for films such as “Black Panther”, “42”, and “Marshall”. His sudden and shocking death shook not only Black Panther fans, but the world itself too.
With that reminder of the impact left from Boseman’s passing, I can say for sure that this film conveys every drop of emotion that was needed.
Not only does the film deliver a great Marvel story, but it also delivers a touching and heartfelt story for all fans.
The MCU has been very divided in quality recently, as a lot of the universe has seemed to have been focusing on quantity more so. After a loss like Boseman’s and the lackluster “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder”, I was delighted by how dedicated the filmmakers involved with this film like Ryan Coogler were.
In the world of the MCU, Black Panther died along with Boseman in the real world. This film deals with that tragic loss by taking a deep look within the characters, especially Shuri, the sister of T’Challa/Black Panther.
In a film that lost its irreplaceable lead, we are quickly shown who is to take the helm through Letitia Wright’s Shuri. We see how she deals with the loss of T’Challa after being the jumpy and excitable sister in Black Panther, to being a hurt and broken shell of her old character. While she does still crack a few one liners here and there due to the nature of the universe this movie is in, she still manages to keep a strong tone of hurt. I do have to say Wright did a great job at showing the anger her character felt throughout the film for believing that she could’ve done something to save T’Challa. Before watching this film, I was very on the fence about what they could possibly do with anyone else as the lead. For a while, I even believed that recasting T’Challa would’ve been a better route, but clearly from the performance we got from Wright I was dead wrong. I sincerely don’t believe this film would’ve worked with anyone else as the lead. This film proved that she is the logical next step towards bringing the Black Panther back to life.
Along with Shuri is her mother Queen Ramonda, played by Angela Bassett. Bassett delivers a very well done performance as T’Challa’s grieving mother. We see as the film goes on how anxious she is with letting Shuri be in possible harm’s way. We see her outburst as the Queen to the other rulers of Wakanda when her family seems to have been threatened. Along with that we see her dealing with Wakanda’s still somewhat new role in the United Nations, as many countries are fearful of them. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see as much of her role as we did Shuri, but it was great to see what we got of her performance in the film.
The other character I really wanted to talk about was Namor. Namor is portrayed by Tenoch Huerta and makes his appearance as the film’s antagonist, who is the king of Talokan and of the Talokan people. His name means “the child without love” as Namor says during the film. Some people at first glance may believe he is just “Marvel Aquaman”, but that is a dire understatement. If he’s a mirror of any character, he is the mirror of Shuri. Both are rulers of hidden kingdoms that are grieving the loss of their family, and have been consumed by the fear and hate of losing others. I found myself being actually worried for many characters when he would appear on screen. For a PG-13 film that caters to mostly all ages, Namor was as brutal as he could be. He was ruthless to the Wakandans and was a dedicated fighter for his people throughout the whole film. It was clear that he was Talokan’s Black Panther figure. With how the film ends, his future within the MCU is very open and is sure to move forward. Of the villains and characters introduced to the MCU in Phase 4, Namor is at the top of the list with Green Goblin, Wenwu, and He Who Remains/Kang the Conqueror. The fear and dread he brought to Wakanda is the same type of emotion we should have been given with the likes of the wasted villain Gorr the God Butcher played by Christian Bale. Least to say, I was extremely happy with Namor and his portrayal in the film.
Whether you’re looking for a thought provoking movie with loads of emotional weight, or a fun-filled Marvel movie with loads of development towards the status of the MCU, then this movie is exactly what you’re looking for.”
— Patrick Sammon
There were some characters in the movie that I felt were misplaced. At the very least their stories should have been better integrated into the movie. The characters I have in mind are Iron Heart/Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), and Contessa Valentina Allegra De Fontaine/Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
Riri Williams is yet another genius in the MCU who is set up as the new Iron Man. Smart enough to attend MIT, build her own Iron Man suit and arc reactor, and smart enough to map out the build to an underwater vibranium detector. While she did have a role to play in the main plot of the film, her inclusion felt more like a set up for her upcoming Disney+ series. Though she had some good chemistry with Shuri in the film, I couldn’t help but feel like her inclusion was added in only to tease another Marvel project. However, I’m sure younger audiences watching the film will love her character, as she is clearly Marvel’s new Iron Man figure within the MCU. I’ll be happy to watch her own series, as long as she gets the proper arc and portrayal in it.
As for Everett Ross and Val, they are two characters that go hand in hand throughout the film. Ross is helpful on his own throughout the film when he’s giving tips to the Wakandans. However, he and Val work together in the CIA with Val who is the head of the CIA. She is the polar opposite to Ross in the film, as she is actively out to try and be better than Wakanda and to have a stronger military force. Clearly her character is meant to be an “evil” NIck Fury archetype, but we didn’t need her input to know that the world is actively against Wakanda. Instead her character should be saved for other roles in upcoming projects like Secret Invasion and Captain America: New World Order. Even more so the movie she’ll actually be in: Thunderbolts. I’d rather learn her motivations in the film that will actually star the character, rather than learn all about her and be left with just a “villain” type character.
The fight choreography for the film was even better in this film than its predecessor. In the few fight scenes this film has to offer, it has a new elevation to it. After being introduced to the warriors of Talokan, we quickly see how outmatched the Wakandans may be throughout the film. In the fights sometimes we won’t hear any dramatic or absurd music in the background that takes away from each hit. It is quiet and every single hit that is made is felt and heard. It made everything feel more real, and I was so glad to see it present in most of the fights that occur in the movie.
Not only was the fight choreography great, but the cinematography captured a brave new unique world within the MCU. Wakanda has never looked better before. When we are first brought to Wakanda we see the sun setting on the utopian city. Even past Wakanda are shown the beautiful waters and waves of shoes like the Atlantic. More than just the ocean, we have never seen any ocean environments like Talokan before. How it was shown brought the new locations to life. It makes Talokan look visually impressive with their underwater, artificial sun, lively population, and underwater beauty makes the city all the more stunning.
Talokan itself was a brand new character. Locations like these that have such strong influence and presence in the universe always leave certain impressions. In “Daredevil”, Hell’s Kitchen is a slum filled with good hearted citizens and a nasty underworld ready to strike the innocent. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” showed Sokovia as the forgotten and beat down city that produced the likes of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. This movie does the same to characterize the city of Talokan. As Namor does introduce it to the characters and audience himself, he shows us the history of the city and how prosperous it is in the present. A city filled with warriors and lively citizens living lives just like humans do. A city that is ready to defend itself when it deems necessary and will stop at nothing to protect itself.
This movie got the opportunity to up its game by giving us some very uniquely done outfits and costumes. In 2019, “Black Panther” won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, so to say I had high hopes for this film would be quite an understatement. I was really happy that many of the costumes were practical, even Iron Heart’s first suit, which weighed 50 lbs for the actress to wear. When first introduced to the Talokan warriors we see the blue warriors with their breathing masks and very impressive outfits. It’s almost hard for me to describe, but I would have to say that they were practical, with heavy influences from Aztec culture and their people. To put it simply, I was very happy with the outfits done for the Talokans and found it very telling of their culture and way of life from just my first glance of it.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” delivered some of the best acting the MCU has seen in recent years, along with delivering an emotional and exhilarating sendoff to the late Chadwick Boseman.
Whether you’re looking for a thought provoking movie with loads of emotional weight, or a fun-filled Marvel movie with loads of development towards the status of the MCU, then this movie is exactly what you’re looking for.
If I were to recommend a movie this Thanksgiving that isn’t the upcoming “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”, then I would recommend this movie every time. I encourage many fans to watch this movie, if not for its themes of loss and grief, then for its nature and action.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stars Letitia Wright, Tenoch Huerta, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Dominique Thorne, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Released on November 11th, 2022, now playing in theaters.